Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hoping for a happy ending...

I used to think pregnancy meant a healthy little baby nine months later, but now I know that’s not always the case. My last three pregnancies ended not long after they began, leaving me with tears of disappointment over what might have been. The one before last almost took my life. I drove myself to the hospital in the middle of the night because I just knew there was something wrong – I felt so incredibly bloated and I couldn’t sleep – and two minutes after arriving I collapsed from internal bleeding. My fallopian tube had ruptured from an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. Thank goodness for modern medicine and keyhole surgery.

The recovery took quite a while and for a long time I didn’t have any energy because of all the blood loss. But I could quilt (except for the first week where I was flat on my back), and those six weeks off work gave me the time I needed to hand quilt and write the patterns for my first quilt patterns (this was in November/December last year). When I had almost recovered I started this blog (on Christmas eve 2009). So I suppose something good came of a really difficult experience.

When I had another miscarriage recently I didn’t know whether to share it with you on my blog or not. Because I hadn’t shared the good news, I felt silly sharing the bad news. I know its something many women struggle with. So, this time I’ve decided to share the good news. I’m pregnant! And I’m so happy! And I’m as sick as a dog! I saw the heartbeat on an ultrasound last week, so I feel positive this one’s a keeper! I also think the fact that I feel sick all the time and am incredibly tired means this baby is taking everything it needs to grow into a healthy little thing.

But I’m afraid quilting and blogging are just going to have to take a back seat for a little while. My quilting time (after 8pm each evening) has just turned into my bed time, and with my husband going away for work for a while it will be all I can do to manage work, the kids and the household stuff. But I’ll pop back on at the beginning of September to let you know how I’m going (I'll still be around if you want to email me in the meantime about anything).

I’ll leave you with a picture that Todd took recently of me for an upcoming magazine profile (I can tell you I don’t currently look like this – I’m a shade of green, and my eyebrows have since matted over, but I really couldn’t care less!). Happy quilting everyone!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sea Views winner - and I won something too!

Wow! Thanks for all the lovely comments on the Sea Views giveaway, some of them were very touching. I drooled over all your lovely holiday spots, from the South of France to Alaska and everywhere in between, and I agree that sometimes the best holiday is right at home hanging out with family. I’ve decided I’m doing a world tour visiting you all, and we can buy ice creams at sea side villages and hand sew hexies whilst watching the kids play. Who’s in?

Anyway, dreaming aside… I just wanted to say another thankyou to Cloud9 Fabrics for hosting this giveaway with me and generously donating these beautiful fabrics! The lucky winner of a fat quarter bundle of “Beyond the Sea” fabric and my pattern is

Congratulations Sohpie! I’ll be in touch soon. Michelle at Cloud9 will be announcing another winner soon too.

Oh, and I won my first online giveaway this week at Make it Perfect! This absolutely gorgeous cushion from Linnea Swedish Designs. Isn’t it stunning? Just my style.

You can see more of her hand crafted work at madeit for Australians and etsy for worldwide visitors.

Monday, August 9, 2010

You gotta love em...

... husbands that is. This week Todd got a great gash on the back of his head from surfing. I had a quick look at the gaping wound and pronounced that he needed stitches... 'hmm' was the response. We then had to quickly drop off the car at the mechanic. After I wiped the blood that was dripping down my husband's neck (not a good look) he returned from his discussion with the mechanic and declared that the mechanic has said he needed stitches so we had better go straight to the doctors! Ah duh!

Example no. 2
A few weeks ago as I was putting together my "Sea Views" quilt top I lay out all the blocks on the floor and asked my husband - "okay, what do you think, does it look good, is there anything that stands out?" He looked for a moment "Nope, looks good". So I proceeded to sew it all together with the sashing. When I looked again I realised that two of the same fabrics were next to each other. Oh no! I showed Todd the catastrophe at hand - he said "Yeah, I saw that right away, but I thought you wanted it that way, so I didn't say anything.".... (It actually didn't take too long to unpick, turn the block around and sew it again, and it was kind of fun complaining all the way)

But he does take a nice photo... I'm going to miss him when he's away for work for the next little while.

Thanks for all the lovely comments about my "Sea Views" quilt. I really appreciate all your kind words, and your holiday spots have made me smile and think of warmer times. There's still some time to enter and snag yourself some gorgeous fabric (if you haven't already), just see the post below.

Also, I'm being featured on Quiltstory today! Thanks for the invite Heather and Megan. They have a great blog over there, featuring tonnes of gorgeous quilts along with the quilters, stories and processes behind them. What a fabulous idea! Go and check it out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cloud9 "Sea Views" Giveaway

My "Sea Views" quilt is finished! Thanks for all the great suggestions on how to quilt it. I decided to keep the quilting simple and in keeping with the wave theme. I really enjoyed quilting the wavy lines and I added some hand quilting in matching perle cotton no. 8, echoing the curved piecing in the blocks (it's difficult to see from a distance).

Michelle Engel Bencsko's gorgeous "Beyond the Sea" organic fabric was definitely the inspiration for this design. When I saw her modern beach themed fabric I immediately knew I wanted to try out some wavy curved piecing. It was a little scary trying something new with such beautiful fabric but I'm so thrilled with how it turned out.

I spend a lot of time at the beach with my family and although its winter at the moment, it was lovely enjoying our local beach (a short walk away) while taking these photos. My sweet mother in law quickly pointed out that this quilt would be absolutely perfect living at their home which directly overlooks the beach. I had to agree as they really do have wonderful "sea views" (although this one will be difficult to let go of).

So would you like to make your own "Sea Views?" Well... Cloud9 Fabrics is very generously giving away two fat quarter bundles of their exquisite "Beyond the Sea" fabric! If you haven't tried organic cotton you're missing out. Not only is it better for the environment, but it feels and looks just wonderful.

Cloud9 and I are both hosting giveaways. Two lucky winners will receive my pdf pattern as well as 10 fat quarters (enough to make all of the wavy blocks in the quilt)! To enter just leave a comment on my blog telling me about a favourite holiday spot. As for me, I have wonderful childhood memories of spending my summers at Kingston Caravan Park in Adelaide by the beach. We would run around with the other children all day, getting sunburnt, and then in the evening we'd watch movies projected onto a big screen and eat lollies. Pure bliss.

After you've told me about your holiday spot, head over to Michelle's blog for a second chance to win. And while you're there take a look at the gorgeous "Forest Friends Flannel" that will be coming out very soon. We will each randomly pick a winner on Tuesday Aug 10th. It's open internationally so anyone can enter, just make sure we have a way to contact you. Good luck! Comments now closed. Thanks!
By the way, the pattern is now available as an instant download from my downloadable patterns page. 20% off while the giveaway is running (I'll reimburse the winners). A limited number of kits and patterns will be available from Cloud9 Fabrics in a few days.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Straight line quilting

Heather was right... straight line quilting is addictive. I absolutely loved putting together this little quilt. The fabric was just so soft, and paired with super soft bamboo/cotton batting it was a pleasure to work with. This is my first time quilting in straight lines, and it was so easy. Its the kind of project you can just turn your brain off and enjoy sewing away at great speed!

They're just 5in charm squares randomly put together with some solids. The is one of Ashley's designs (from Film in the Fridge)  and she does them so well. There's something lovely and patchworky about combining simple squares. I'd like to make a full sized version one day.

I wanted to keep this one super soft so I went for a whole back

Look, the fish are swimming down stream.

Have you tried straight line quilting and if so, how far apart did you make your lines? Mine varied 1/4in to 1in, but mainly about 3/4in I think.

Addit: It was easy quilting a baby sized version, but I'm not sure how I'd go with a larger quilt. I can see it would take quite a while to quilt, and it would be a lot harder to wrangle it under the machine. Especially since you need to change the end you start from each time. I'll let you know how I go.